Imperial Senate (Belhavia)

The Imperial Senate of Belhavia
Type
Type
Leadership
President of the Senate
Structure
Seats70
Political groups
     Conservative Party (35)
     Liberal Democratic Party (30)
     Libertarian Party (4)
     Independents (1)
200px
Elections
Last election
November 4th, 2014
Meeting place
The Capitol, Government District, Provisa, Belhavia

The Imperial Senate is the unicameral national legislature of the Empire of Belhavia. It currently has 70 members, who are elected directly by registered voters. The Senate can debate legislation, propose constitutional amendments, and block its passage with a majority vote. Legislation may be introduced in the Senate by an individual or groups of Senators. The Senate sits for most of the calendar year, taking regularly scheduled "recesses" in March-April, June-July, and September-October.

President of the Senate

The President of the Senate is the Majority Leader of the party which has a majority in the legislative body. The Senate president's most important duty is to chair the sessions of the Senate and to decide when to bring up and schedule votes on legislation. He determines the order of speakers and opens and closes the debates, and ensures that debates take place in an orderly fashion.

Elections

Imperial Senators are elected through a plurality majority popular vote by eligible, registered voters in a first-past-the-post electoral system. Each Senator serves a term of four years, and the chamber is organized so that approximately one-third of seats are open for election every other year. Senators enjoy the ability to run for re-election indefinitely without term limits.

Powers, Roles, and Duties

  • All legislation is initiated in the Senate.
  • Approve treaties.
  • Propose and pass annual budgets.
  • Declare war.
  • Advise, consent, and approve of the President's appointments.

Legislation Procedure

  1. A bill is introduced by a member or group in the Senate.
  2. The committee under which the legislation falls under may review the bill. They can decide to discard the bill, revise the bill, or proceed with the bill unaltered.
  3. The bill is formally introduced into the Senate.
  4. The Senate may debate on the bill and/or request revision of the bill.
  5. The bill may be revised several times by the author(s) or the committee.
  6. After sufficient debate and revision, the bill may be voted on.
  7. To pass, a bill needs a simple majority vote. However, individual Senators may invoke filibuster protocols at which point the bill needs 60% of votes (42 votes) to pass.
  8. The bill goes to the President.
  9. The President can approve or veto a bill. If he vetoes a bill, the Senate can override the veto with a 2/3rd majority.

Current Composition

The 112th Senate opened on January 1st, 2015, comprised of 35 Conservatives, 30 Liberal Democrats, 4 Libertarians, and 1 Independent. The Tories have a 6-seat majority, augmented by the Independent senator caucusing with them for organizational purposes.

The outgoing 111th Senate had a composition of 41 Tories, 25 Lib Dems, and 4 Libertarians. The Lib Dems had a net increase of 5, and the Conservatives a net loss of 6 seats. The 112th session of the Senate is the first to see once again the seating of an independent Imperial Senator; the last time the Senate had an independent was the 110th Senate (2011 - 2013).

The 112th Senate is characterized by a wide range of ideological diversity within all three political parties. The center-left/centrist Lib Dems have a resurgent moderate-to-conservative wing within their party caucus, and the rightist Tories have both neoconservatives and a growing libertarian wing within their caucus. The Libertarians have two minarchists, a paleolibertarian, and an anarcho-capitalist.

Senate Composition Since 1946

Provisional
Assembly
Years Provisional Assembly (Interim Senate Regime) President Governing Majority Party Margin of Majority Control
Federalists Liberal
Democrats
United Left National Patriotic
Union
Independents Vacan
cies
77th 1946–1947 17 21 8 10 14 2 Matthew Rabin National Unity Front
(de facto Liberal Democrat-United Left-Independent majority)
+16
(de facto)
78th 1947–1949 24 29 5 6 6 - Liberal Democrat-United Left-Independent coalition +10
Senate Years Senate President Governing Majority Party Margin of Majority Control
Federalists Liberal
Democrats
United Left National Patriotic
Union
Independents Vacan
cies
79th 1949–1951 28 36 4 2 2 2 Matthew Rabin Liberal Democrats +8
80th 1951–1953 32 31 2 4 1 - Federalist-National Patriotic Union coalition +5
81st 1953–1955 25 34 5 3 3 1 Yavin Leibniz Liberal Democrat-Independent coalition +12
Senate Years Senate President Governing Majority Party Margin of Majority Control
Conservatives Liberal
Democrats
United Left National Patriotic
Union
Independents Vacan
cies
82nd 1955–1957 22 36 3 2 7 2 Yavin Leibniz Liberal Democrats +14
83rd 1957–1959 29 32 2 2 5 - Liberal Democrat-Independent coalition +6
84th 1959–1961 28 35 0 3 4 - +11
85th 1961–1963 37 29 N/Aa 3 1 1 Edward Kalian Conservatives +8
86th 1963–1965 35 31 N/A 2 2 - +4
87th 1965–1967 31 32 N/A 4 3 - Conservative-National Patriotic Union coalitionb +3
88th 1967–1969 25 39 N/A 3 3 - Liberal Democrats +14
89th 1969–1971 27 41 N/A N/Ac 2 3c Vern Callan +13
Senate Years Senate President Governing Majority Party Margin of Majority Control
Conservatives Liberal
Democrats
Libertarians Independents Vacan
cies
90th 1971–1973 23 45 N/A1 2 - Vern Callan Liberal Democrats +22
91st 1973–1975 25 44 N/A 1 - +19
92nd 1975–1977 28 41 0 1 - +13
93th 1977–1979 28 40 1 1 12 Berel Levine +12
94th 1979–1981 27 40 2 1 12 +13
95th 1981–1983 40 26 4 0 - Julian Settas Conservatives +14
96th 1983–1985 37 29 4 0 - +8
97th 1985–1987 41 23 5 1 - +18
98th 1987–1989 37 28 4 1 - +9
99th 1989–1991 35 31 3 1 - Naftali Katz +4
100th 1991–1993 34 32 33 1 - Liberal Democrat-Libertarian-Independent coalition3 (two weeks only)
Conservative-Libertarian coalition (rest of session)
+2
101st 1993–1995 34 34 14 1 - Garret Holleran Liberal Democrat-Independent coalition4 +1
102nd 1995–1997 32 35 1 2 - Liberal Democrats +4
103rd 1997–1999 34 33 1 2 - Yehuda Fiedler Conservative-Libertarian-Independent coalition +3
104th 1999–2001 36-355 32-335 1 1 15 Conservatives +2
105th 2001–2003 30 366 4 0 16 Garret Holleran Liberal Democrat +6
106th 2003–2005 31 35 4 0 - +4
107th 2005–2007 37 30-267 3 0-47 - Jeff Arnoth Conservatives +117
108th 2007–2009 33 27 7 38 - +7
109th 2009–2011 32-369 31 6-29 1 - Eli Goldman +5
110th 2011–2013 39 27 3 1 - +12
111th 2013–2015 41 25 4 0 - +16
112th 2015 - 2017 35 30 4 110 - +6

Notes:
†. Although Senate sessions are two-year terms, the 77th Senate opened in January 1945 during the Rump Senate of the Galarian autocracy. During the Stein Coup of 5/21/1945, the Rump Senate was dissolved and the nation was without a sitting national legislature until elections were held in late 1945, and the "77th Senate" (then called the Provisional Assembly) was seated on January 2nd, 1946, and filled out the rest of the term as if there had been no interruption. For more information, see Provisional Government of Belhavia.
a. The new Tory majority in the Senate sent President Kalian a bill to add the United Left party to the prohibited political groups under the White Terror laws as the press discovered evidence that many of the elements of the far-left party were closeted Marxists and socialists in the December 1960 Bloomberg Affair. The United Left party had already lost its two remaining Senators in the 1958 midterm elections. Kalian signed the bill on February 7th, 1961, registering the party as a dangerous and subversive platform for unlawful far-left political advocacy, and the party was banned. Most of its leaders were arrested, and the bulk of them chose to denounce their citizenship and leave the country, while others fled or went into hiding.
b. With their majority in peril after they entered the 87th Senate a seat behind the Lib Dems, the Tories abandoned their long-standing cordon sanitaire against forming coalitions or alliances with the far right National Patriotic Union, after the NPU agreed to moderate its radical right-wing rhetoric and soften its position as a crypto-Galarianist party. Once the Tories entertained a coalition with the NPU, all three independents refused to enter negotiations to join the political alliance.
c. The NPU saw its demise in the aftermath of the Ben-David Incident of March 3rd - 6th, 1969, when senior elements of the NPU political leadership, all three of its sitting senators, and its allies in the Imperial National Militia's Provisa garrison attempted to launch a coup d'état in reaction to the left-wing honeymoon legislation of President Vern Callan, which led to a three-day fight in the capital before it was quelled by the regular Army. The party was criminalized by unanimous assent by the Senate under the White Terror laws, its three senators were arrested and removed from their positions, and the party's leadership were arrested, killed in the fighting, or fled the nation. Special elections were held for all three vacant Senate seats; the Lib Dems won two of them, and the Tories won one.
1. The Libertarian Party did not exist until May 1972, and did not contest Imperial senatorial elections until 1974.
2. One senator resigned because of a serious ethics violations, and the other was killed in a plane crash. In both scenarios, their provinces allowed their sitting governors to appoint their replacements, and both had governors of the same party who appointed replacements of their party, resulting in no change of the partisan balance of power in the chamber.
3. In the 100th session of the Imperial Senate, in the opening days of the session, the Independent Rodney King and the three-member Libertarian caucus joined the Liberal Democrats to form a majority coalition (36 – 34) for two weeks, electing Lib Dem leader Sen. Ron Jayson as Senate Majority Leader. In a counter-coup, the Tories were able to sway two of the Libertarian senators to their side, collapsing the LD-I-LP majority and creating a 36-34 C-LP coalition majority. Conservative Sen. Jacob Lieberstein, the incumbent Senate Majority Leader from the 99th Senate, was re-elected Senate Majority Leader in a floor vote, and served in that capacity for the remainder of the 100th Senate. The lone remaining Libertarian, Sen. Isaac Goldberger, and Independent Sen. King broke away from the Lib Dems and caucused on their own as they did before the parliamentary coup. See: January 1991 Senate Coups for more information.
4. Entering the 101st Senate session saw both major parties split at 34-34 each. The Libertarian caucus, reduced to one member (Sen. Jacob Cohen) after a disastrous 1992 Imperial general election for the Libs, foreswore joining either party to create a coalition after the media firestorm and backlash from his base over the January 1991 Senate Coups. After intense negotiations, Independent Sen. King rejoined the Liberal Democrats, delivering them a fragile 1-vote majority.
5. The Tories had a great 1998 midterm election, breaking historical trends to gain seats in what normally would be an opposition party-favored year. They had a net gain of 2 seats, 36 to the Lib Dems' 32. However, Conservative Sen. Yadoah Mintz of Vannen was discovered by the press to be having an extramarital affair, and after weeks of pressure, he resigned on April 19th, 1999. In the special election that November, Vannen voters narrowly elected to replace him with a Liberal Democrat, Asher Lebowitz, and the balance of the two parties' power in the Senate shifted 35 Tory - 33 Lib Dem until the 105th Senate.
6. Sen. David Goldwasser, a Lib Dem, died of old age, but in the special election to replace him, another Lib Dem, Harold Dreyfuss, prevailed and was seated. There was no change in partisan balance of power.
7. Following lobbying from President Arnoth and prominent members of the Lib Dem “rightist” wing, as the 107th Senate session was beginning, 4 Liberal Democratic Senators from the Rightist wing of the party broke away from the increasingly left-leaning 30-member Lib Dem Senate caucus and formed their own “Independent Centrist Caucus,” from which the ICC senators often worked with the Tory majority to pass legislation. The LD caucus dropped from 30 to 26 with the breaking away of the “ICC” Rightist faction.
8. Following the gridlock and bitter feelings from their former Lib Dem colleagues, the ICC faction splintered before the upcoming 2008 midterm elections. 1 ICC senator was defeated in his Lib Dem primary, one resigned, one defected to the Conservatives, and one (Sen. Joe Manton) was able to hold his seat and remain an “Independent Democrat” dedicated to centrist governing.
9. President Goldman and the Conservative leadership, nervous about a close 32-31 majority and the unknown negotiations between the 6-seat Libertarian Party caucus and the Lib Dems, reached out to 4 LP senators in their party’s “pragmatic” wing and were able to persuade them to defect and become Conservatives, giving them an opportunity to influence legislation and promote libertarian principles instead of being delegated to a marginalized backbencher caucus. The new Conservative majority grew from 32 to 36. See: Conservative-Libertarian (Con-Lib) Caucus, 2008 - Present.
10. The Independent Senator, Ari Gerson (a self-described "conservative independent"), chose to caucus with the Tories for organizational purposes.